French Wines: Château le Coteau 2008

Posted in wine of the month

My love affair with French wines began with Bordeaux. Having swallowed enough boxed pink plonk in college, I eventually graduated to supermarket screw-cap wines. When I began my Wall Street career, however, I knew I had to up my game, lest my boss murder me for ordering bottles of Two-Buck Chuck at client dinners.

French wines: Château le Coteau 2008

Figuring that the best way to learn was via immersion, I traveled to Bordeaux and immediately fell under the spell of the Left Bank. Elegant staff attired in couture suits escorted me to immaculate tasting rooms in Disneyesque châteaux. Names such as Lafite, Mouton Rothschild and Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande all added to the fairy tale. Was this a farming community, or had I landed in the Hamptons?

And then I saw the price of the bottles, rudely awakening me to reality. Bordeaux can be an expensive habit. Premiers crus such as Lafite can cost north of $1,000. Lynch-Bages, a well-regarded Cinquième cru, costs about $200 per bottle for the 2010 vintage.

So where does this leave a girl who wants to attend the ball but doesn’t have a fairy godmother padding her bank account? Just below the crus classés but above the broader categories of Bordeaux supérieur and Bordeaux AOC lie the Left Bank village-level classifications. Never heard of the Appellation Margaux Controlée? It could be because there are only eight small family-owned properties still residing in Margaux. Most others have sold their vineyards to the larger châteaux in the area.

This month’s wine, Château le Coteau 2008, is one of those eight family-owned properties. Lovingly run by Eric l’Eglise, who took over from his father and grandfather before him, the estate is planted to 30-plus-year-old vines of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc and petit verdot. Wines from Margaux are considered the most feminine of the Left Bank because of their floral attributes, and the Château le Coteau is perfumed with the aroma of violets. The core, however, is pure Bordelais Cabernet Sauvignon: cassis, graphite, coffee, dark chocolate and cedar.

As this is the month for Valentine’s Day, why not share this juicy wine with beef and your beefcake? All you fabulous singletons out there will enjoy this wine just as much, especially when paired with roast leg of lamb or succulent steak.

Like most things in life, with Bordeaux you get what you pay for. I tasted quite a few basic Bordeaux AOC wines in the $10 range and supérieur wines in the $20 range before finding this Margaux gem. I know, I know, it’s a tough job! But where’s the appeal in kissing frogs? And I kissed plenty of wine frogs before finding this prince. At roughly $40 per bottle, who needs the château in order to drink like a princess?

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Info
Château le Coteau 2008 is available at Moe’s Fine Wines ($39.99).

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